Tag: Energize NY

Energize NY Makes Solar Work for Ossining Small Business

Written by: Heather Flournoy on Sep 30th 2015

Today Ossining Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly and 25 local leaders and business owners celebrated the first solar installation by a local business as part of the Solarize Ossining-Briarcliff campaign.  The new solar panels on the roof of Terra Tile & Marble’s 30,000 square foot headquarters in the Town of Ossining are supplying nearly 100% of Terra Tile’s electricity needs. This project was made possible with financing provided by Energize NY (PACE) Finance, which offers low-cost, long-term financing for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy installations, like the solar panels at Terra Tile.

This project is an example of how local governments working together with community-based programs like Solarize Westchester and Energize NY can bring about positive economic and environmental change in their communities.

Terra Tile and Marble 120Kw solar installation group photo

In Photo:  L-R: Ronnie Mandler(Best Energy Power); Victoria Gearity (Mayor, Village of Ossining); Jana Petrikova (Energize NY); Dani Glaser (Westchester Green Business Challenge); Kevin Muchnik (Best Energy Power); Sue Gasch (Terra Tile); Manuel Gasch (Terra Tile); Elyssa Rothe (Energize NY); Catherine Borgia (Westchester County Legislator); Sandra Galef (NYS Assembly); 

Middle:  Scott Smith (Program Director, NYSERDA); David Gasch (Terra Tile); Robert Fischman (Energize NY); Susanne Donnelly (Supervisor, Town of Ossining); Nina Orville (Solarize Westchester); Nicole Coddington (Solarize Westchester)

Back: Kathryn Hoenig (Energize NY); Justin Strachan (Sustainable CUNY); Mark Thielking (Energize NY); Troy Jellerette (First Niagara Financial Group); Leo Wiegman (Sustainable Westchester)

“The need to conserve energy and be kinder to our planet is a daily conversation for me and for most people I know, “said Susanne Donnelly, Supervisor of the Town of Ossining and Chair of Energize NY’s Board of Directors.  “Local leaders like myself can encourage folks to participate in solar projects – it’s easy and will save them money. It’s good for building owners,” she explained.   “Increased participation also brings municipalities lots of benefits: a more engaged citizenry, residents and property owners with more money to spend at local businesses, and the opportunity to provide leadership and model best practices for our neighbors, near and far.”

The Terra Tile solar installation was one of almost 30 solar installations brought about through the Solarize Ossining-Briarcliff campaign.  “The idea behind the Solarize campaigns is to help homeowners and commercial property owners organize as a community to get lower rates from qualified solar suppliers to make it both less expensive and easier to install solar,” said Nina Orville, Program Manager of Solarize Westchester. “We are very pleased that our first round of Solarize campaigns, which involved ten Westchester municipalities, including Ossining and Briarcliff Manor, resulted in 200 residential installations totaling 1.4 MW.  The commercial program is closing in October and to date we have 7 commercial contracts for over 270 kW, with a number of additional large projects pending” she said.

Energize NY Finance, which financed the Terra Tile installation, is New York State’s PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program and is supported by the New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA.  Energize NY makes clean energy project financing accessible and affordable for commercial building owners and not-for-profits.  Financing is available for up to 100% of the project cost and is based on the property’s potential for energy savings. Repayment is made through an annual charge on the property’s tax bill that automatically transfers to a new owner if the property is sold. Annual energy savings are larger than the repayment amounts, making projects cash-flow positive immediately. The energy savings realized by these projects improve bottom lines and can be used to expand and improve facilities or hire new employees.

“It just makes business sense,” said David Gasch, whose family has owned and operated Terra Tile for nearly 40 years. “We’re now paying almost nothing for our monthly electricity supply, and the capital investment has improved the energy performance and value of our building,” he explained. “With the long-term savings from our solar installation, we’re planning to hire another employee.”

Clean energy projects make financial sense for a most buildings, including multifamily, commercial and industrial, retail/mixed use, private schools, colleges and universities, and institutional properties. In addition to energy savings, there are a number of tax and other financial incentives available that make these projects extremely cost-effective.

“Many of our member municipalities view Energize NY Finance as a tool to spur economic development and achieve sustainability goals,” said Mark Thielking, Executive Director of Energize NY.  “We work with members, like the Town of Ossining, to realize the many benefits of reducing energy waste in local buildings – increased property values, decreased energy spending, greater profitability for local businesses, increased local economic activity and job creation, and reduced air pollution associated with energy consumption.”

Sustainable CUNY has also played an important role in municipalities like Ossining by providing trainings to solar installers across New York State on permitting, interconnection, and financing, which Energize NY provides. Sustainable CUNY’s SolarSmart program also recently released a comprehensive guide for municipalities, the 2015 New York State Multifamily Solar Guide,
*       *       *       *       *
Energize NY, www.EnergizeNY.org, is a NY State mission-driven local development corporation that works with its member communities and property owners to unlock the energy savings in their buildings, saving money, fuel and greenhouse gas emissions. Energize NY drives demand for clean energy upgrades to existing buildings through community-based marketing and outreach and by providing affordable and accessible project financing.


NY Farm Receives First Groundbreaking Clean Energy Financing from Energize NY!


YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY – Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC) today announced its completion of the first commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing in New York State, a milestone for its Energize NY Finance program and its partners Orange County, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (“NYSERDA”), First Niagara Bank, N.A. and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Energize NY Finance is New York’s new finance program for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in existing buildings that are commercially owned.

Energize NY Finance offers low-cost, long-term financing for up to the full cost of energy improvements that reduce energy consumption or generate renewable energy. Unlike traditional financing, Energize NY’s PACE financing focuses on the project’s potential for energy savings and is repaid through an annual tax charge on the property (like water or sewer charges) over the term of the financing. If the property is sold, the energy savings and financing automatically transfers to the new owner.

Energize NY’s first PACE loan was used to fund a 53 kilowatt ground-mounted solar installation located in the fields of 5 Spoke Creamery Farm, a Mid-Hudson Valley artisanal cheese making facility in Goshen, NY known for its cave-aged raw milk cheeses. The solar panels, which were installed by Novel Approaches of Orange County, generated energy savings from day one and will replace 100 percent of 5 Spoke Creamery’s annual electricity costs.

“I am very proud that Orange County is the first county in our state to implement the Energize NY Finance program,” said Orange County Executive, Steve Neuhaus. “We joined EIC as the first member county because we recognized that EIC’s programs meaningfully contribute to our economic development and environmental conservation strategy. We are particularly pleased that new solar technology can benefit our agricultural businesses, like 5 Spoke Creamery, by reducing energy costs, improving resiliency and generating savings for re-investment,” said Neuhaus.

Barbara and Alan Glustoff, owners of 5 Spoke Creamery, moved their operations to Orange County from Pennsylvania, reversing a trend that had seen farming operations decline in Orange County. The solar project financed by Energize NY Finance offers numerous benefits to the Glustoffs’ business and the community. “We are excited to be able to substantially reduce our electricity costs and benefit the environment at the same time,” said Alan Glustoff. “Everything on this farm affects the quality of our cheese and reflects our commitment to sustainable agriculture,” explained Glustoff. “Going solar is important to the whole picture, and the electric savings will go to expanding our business,” he added. “Orange County Planning directed us to their Energize NY Finance program to help get the balance of funding we needed to make this project happen, ” said Barbara Glustoff. “Going through the Energize NY Finance program was pretty simple and straightforward and the energy savings will have more than paid for the financed amount by 2020,” she said.

Energize NY Finance is one of several programs offered by EIC, a local development corporation owned by municipalities throughout NY State who have made a commitment to improve the energy performance of local building stock. With 16 members and many others planning to join, EIC works with its members, like Orange County, to transform the market for comprehensive clean energy projects by integrating Energize NY programs with local economic development and community-based sustainability efforts driven by local leadership.

EIC also has worked closely with NYSERDA, both prior to and since its launch in New York, to accelerate demand for clean energy upgrades to existing building stock. NY Green Bank, a division of NYSERDA, provided a letter of credit which first enabled EIC to offer the commercial PACE financing platform throughout New York. This partnership expands affordable and accessible clean energy project financing to all of New York State for commercial, industrial, agricultural and multi-family buildings to help them become more cost effective by decreasing energy costs.

“Energize NY is just the kind of initiative NY Green Bank is targeting as we continue to build a vibrant private sector market providing clean energy solutions to benefit communities and customers,” said Alfred Griffin, NY Green Bank President. “Programs like Energize NY are, and will continue to be, essential to Governor Cuomo’s comprehensive energy strategy – Reforming the Energy Vision, or “REV” – which will ultimately deliver a cleaner, more reliable, and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers.”

First Niagara Bank provided EIC with a line of capital to provide financing to property owners, part of which was used to fund the 5 Spoke solar project. EIC also issued its first long-term take-out financing to Bank of America Merrill Lynch in connection with the 5 Spoke solar project. BofA Merrill Lynch has agreed to provide up to $75 million in financing to EIC, which will be used by Energize NY Finance to finance additional clean energy projects. “We are excited to be able to deploy such deep sources of project capital in partnership with First Niagara and Bank of America Merrill Lynch for energy improvement projects in our member municipalities,” said Mark Thielking, EIC’s Executive Director. “Over time, as most of NY State’s municipalities join EIC, we look forward to leveraging the Energize NY Finance platform to upgrade every eligible property in order to reduce energy waste, generate local jobs and create a competitive building stock for sustainable economic growth,” he said.

Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC), www.EnergizeNY.org, is a New York State not-forprofit local development corporation that works with its member municipalities across NY State to reduce energy waste and create multiple renewable energy sources through community-based marketing and outreach and by providing affordable and accessible project financing. EIC drives demand for clean energy upgrades to existing buildings through its programs – Energize NY Finance, Energize NY Residential, Energize NY Commercial and Solarize Westchester.